Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reuters - Iran releases French teacher on bail: Elysee

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Iran releases French teacher on bail: Elysee

Sunday, Aug 16, 2009 8:38PM UTC

PARIS (Reuters) - Iran has freed on bail a French teaching assistant charged with spying, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement said Clotilde Reiss, 24, was well and would stay in the French embassy in Tehran pending a verdict.

Reiss has been charged in a mass trial with aiding a Western plot against the government after Iran's disputed presidential election in June and has been held in prison since early July.

A French embassy employee, Nazak Afshar, who faces the same charges, was conditionally released earlier this week by Iran and will also stay at the embassy ahead of the verdict.

"The French authorities now ask that the judicial case against Clotilde Reiss and Madame Nazak Afshar, which cannot be justified in any way, come to a swift conclusion," Sarkozy's office said.

Sarkozy thanked other countries, including Syria, for supporting France in the case, which has further strained already tense relations with Iran.

Earlier on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told state television that France had agreed to post bail for Reiss, saying the authorities had not sought an "enormous sum."

"The verdict might come in the next eight days. Perhaps a bit longer," he said.

Sarkozy's office said the president had spoken to Reiss immediately after her release and praised her courage.

"Clotilde Reiss is in good health and has maintained good spirits," the statement said.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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